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National curriculum does not dictate teaching approaches

Posted by Garry Collins, ETAQ President on 21 January 2014
  • The following was submitted as a letter to the editor but was not selected for publication in The Australian of Tuesday 21 January 2014.

Stephen Elder argues that one of the reasons the recently announced review of the national curriculum is necessary is that a constructivist approach to teaching predominates and the curriculum is therefore imbalanced (“Review will add missing balance to curriculum”, 20/1).

Some previous state and territory syllabus documents may have been based on a preferred approach to teaching but ACARA’s Australian Curriculum details only what students should learn. How the material is to be taught is left to teachers and schools.

According to Elder, constructivist approaches are characterised, in part, by students being “centre stage”. This does sound rather like Minister Pyne’s requirement that the curriculum should place students first.

Elder writes that ad hominem attacks in relation to the review are wasteful. Perhaps he should in turn be cautioned about straw man arguments.

Garry Collins, President, Australian Association for the Teaching of English (AATE)

  • Note: Stephen Elder was identified in the paper as executive director of Catholic Education Melbourne.
Author: Garry Collins, ETAQ President
Tags: Curriculum matters

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